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Falsely Accused of a Crime in South Carolina: What to Do? 2024

Falsely Accused of a Crime in South Carolina: What to Do? 2024
Axelrod & Associates, P.A.
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Being accused of a crime you did not commit is a terrifying situation. The consequences of a false accusation are significant, including social, economic, and personal repercussions. If you are wrongfully convicted, you face potential jail or prison time, fines, and a criminal record that harms your future. If you are arrested or charged with a crime, you need a qualified South Carolina criminal defense attorney for your greatest chance at avoiding these effects.

There are many reasons false accusations or wrongful arrests occur, and they are more common for crimes such as domestic violence, assault and battery, and sexual assault. Being wrongfully accused or convicted is a traumatic and harmful experience that may harm you for the rest of your life. You have to protect your rights and seek experienced defense counsel.

False Accusations and Wrongful Arrests

False allegations and wrongful arrests both occur when you are arrested, charged, or otherwise accused of a crime you didn’t commit. False allegations and accusations typically occur because of mistaken identification, malicious behavior, revenge, or misleading evidence.

Wrongful arrests may be a form of false accusation that occurs when law enforcement officers operate outside of their legal authority when arresting or charging you. Wrongful arrests can occur whether or not you are innocent, but they happen when a law enforcement officer does not have probable cause to arrest you or search your home or vehicle or does not follow proper procedure while doing so.

Consequences of Wrongful Convictions

Wrongful convictions happen when you are innocent of the crime but are convicted in a court of law. Wrongful convictions, depending on the crime, can result in probation, jail time, time in prison, and fines. When you have a permanent criminal record, many future opportunities are limited, including housing, employment, and loans.

Outside of direct criminal consequences, a conviction can cause social and personal reputational damage, result in lost wages or lost employment, and cause financial damage from court costs, legal fees, and other losses.

What Causes False Accusations?

The most common reasons for false accusations include:

  1. Mistaken identity, when an individual accidentally identifies you as the person who committed a crime they witnessed or were a victim of
  2. Purposeful false accusations, when an individual accuses you of a crime out of malice, revenge, or for another reason
  3. Inaccurate memory, which occurs when someone misremembers a crime, and you are accused as a result
  4. Official misconduct, which occurs when law enforcement officers, prosecutors, or others in the court of law commit misconduct or otherwise breach the extent of their powers
  5. Misleading evidence, most often the result of professional witness inaccuracies

What Do I Do if I Am Falsely Accused?

The most important thing you need to do is exercise your right to remain silent and obtain legal counsel. Even if you know you are innocent, you should never assume that this is enough for you to avoid conviction. An attorney is essential to determine the ideal strategy based on whether the accusations are made with intentional malice or the arrest is due to inaccurate evidence or other legal errors.

Find a criminal defense attorney with experience in the type of crime you are being charged with. Your attorney can guide you through the criminal court system, determine if there is sufficient evidence against you, and review how to effectively defend against the accusations. A defense attorney can gather essential evidence to support your innocence or create doubt in the prosecution’s case.

FAQs

Q: Can You Go to Jail for False Accusations in South Carolina?

A: If someone falsely accuses you of a crime, you must be prosecuted beyond a reasonable doubt to go to jail for a crime. Unfortunately, wrongful convictions do happen.

If you knowingly provide false information under oath, on a legal document, or on a filed police report, this is illegal. This may be a misdemeanor charge or a felony charge if you knowingly file a false police report regarding an alleged felony. Conviction results in jail time and/or fines.

Q: What Happens if You Are Falsely Accused of a Crime?

A: If you are falsely accused of a crime, the prosecution must prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Providing evidence that introduces doubt into the accusations against you, evidence, or the grounds of the arrest may enable you to avoid a false conviction. If you are falsely convicted, you may be able to utilize the appeals process.

If you are later exonerated for a false conviction, you likely have the right to file against the person or party that wrongfully accused or convicted you.

Q: How Do You Prove Innocence when Falsely Accused?

A: When you are accused of a crime, you do not have the burden of proof. The prosecution must prove you guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. The main defenses in a criminal case include:

  1. Insufficient Evidence: If the prosecution does not have evidence beyond a reasonable doubt to link you to the crime, you may not be convicted.
  2. Alibi: This means showing that the prosecution’s evidence does not line up with where you were when the alleged crime occurred.
  3. Suppress Evidence: Your attorney can file to suppress illegally obtained evidence from the case.

Q: What Is the Legal Definition of Falsely Accused?

A: Being falsely accused means there is an untrue claim of a crime, either through a formal police or legal report or through informal statements. The crime itself may have been falsified, or the claim of who committed the crime may be false. False accusations are typically the result of mistaken identity, purposeful and malicious statements, or a miscarriage of legal powers of judgment by law enforcement or prosecutors.

Axelrod & Associates, P.A.: Defending Our Community

At Axelrod & Associates, our team has significant experience in many areas of criminal defense and has worked for years in the Myrtle Beach area and the surrounding communities. We know the local criminal court systems and can help you navigate the system when you have been falsely accused. Contact our team today.

Call now at 843-258-4079 or get in touch through our website to talk with attorney today.

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